My Big Idea For The Music Room

Last Friday, I shared with you that I had a big idea for my music room, and in order to prepare for this big idea, it required that I reinstall my doors on actual barn door hardware rather than having them roll on the floor.

how to install square rail door track - cheap barn door hardware - 12

Before I could get started on this big idea, I also needed to paint the hardware black, so I sprayed it with a matte black finish. I didn’t get a good picture of it, but I can tell you that this hardware looks amazing painted in a matte black finish. So if you’re wanting cheap barn door hardware, but the shiny silver color put you off, rest assured that you can paint it and it will look great. (You can see here what it would look like painted black.)

So now I’ll tell you what my big idea is. And since I hear from many of you that you like not only to see my projects, but to hear my thought processes behind the decisions I make, I’ll also share how all of this came about.

First, I’m no longer planning on using the hand drawn “wallpaper” in this room. I love that wallpaper, but I was obviously having some doubts about how it would look with everything else (obvious because I was having such a hard time deciding how to use it — full wall? wainscoting? white wainscoting? black wainscoting?). I just couldn’t seem to get a plan to work in my mind. And then several of you who commented said that you didn’t think the wallpaper was right for that room. I was having doubts, but I was still planning on pushing through, until…

I got an email from my mom. 😀 In her email, she stated all of the reasons she thought that the wallpaper was wrong for the music room and gave some other options that she thought would work much better.

Now here’s the deal. My mom and I don’t always agree when it comes to decorating. She and I have very different taste, and sometimes I just need her to trust my vision when I’m absolutely sure about something that she’s not quite so sure about. But when it comes to something that I’m already having a twinge of doubt about, then I’m more easily swayed by her opinion. The fact is that while we have very different decorating taste, she knows me better than anyone (other than Matt, that is), she’s been in my house, and she has a great artistic eye.

So with those earlier comments from other commenters on my blog, plus my mom’s email, plus my own twinge of doubt, I decided to switch gears rather than push through with hours upon hours of tediously hand drawing that wallpaper only to be disappointed with the result. I’m kind of sad about it because I really love that wallpaper, and I even bought an overhead projector on Ebay to use to transfer the design to my walls. I’m hoping to find another place to use that design. My office, perhaps? We’ll see.

Anyway, my mom mentioned a couple of other options. First, she mentioned black and white stripes over white wainscoting. She prefers vertical stripes, but I prefer horizontal.

Transitional Dining Room by South Shore Decorating

Y’all know I love stripes, but I’m afraid that stripes in that little room might be overpowering. Plus, I think it’s just too many stripes since I’ll be using striped draperies in the dining room.

But she also suggested just a solid black above white wainscoting. I love that idea.

Traditional Dining Room

It’s such a classic look, and it has been one of my favorite ideas all along. My only issue has been having black walls right up against my black doors. It’s just way too much black. It turns that back wall into a dark hole, and makes my doors disappear.

So for a couple of days after receiving my mom’s emails, I was racking my brain trying to come up with a way to give clear definition between my black doors and black walls in that room. One idea I had was to treat them like exterior French doors and hang draperies on either side (i.e., white draperies). But it’s not an exterior doorway, and as much as I love draperies and fabric in general, that idea just seemed a bit silly to me.

I kept remembering way back to when I originally made these doors, and remembering many commenters saying that I should have made them as pocket doors. I didn’t even consider that option because that wall is the original exterior back wall of the house, and the front and back walls of this house are carrying the heaviest load. In other words, in order to make pocket doors in that wall, it would take some pretty major construction that I wasn’t willing to do.

But pocket doors would have solved the issue, because with pocket doors, you can always see the door casings. In my case, my door casings are all white, and that would separate the doors from the walls. But since my doors slide open in front of the casings and cover up the casings, there’s no separation between the doors and the walls unless the doors are completely closed.

*Sigh* If only they were pocket doors all of my problems would be solved.

Now another issue I’ve had with this room is just the whole layout. It was originally intended to be the dining room, but as I’ve mentioned before, using this room as a dining room just isn’t practical for us. It’s a small room, and putting a big dining table and chairs right in the middle would make maneuvering through that room impossible for Matt.

So that’s why I decided to make it a music room with an upright piano. That way the middle of the room could be kept clear for easy maneuverability for Matt. But what does that leave me with? A piano on one wall, and a couple of chairs on the other wall? It just seemed so plain and lacking in purpose and interest. I’ve been desperately wanting to add some bookcases to that room, but where? Flanking the piano on a side wall? That’s way too much for a side wall in that small room. Behind the chairs on the other side wall? Still too much, and any bookcases on the side walls would make that room feel incredibly unbalanced.

Every time I thought about bookcases in that room, the only logical place for them seemed to be flanking the doorway. But of course, I kind of made that option impossible since I installed barn doors instead of pocket doors, right? If I put bookcases on the walls flanking the doorway, then my doors wouldn’t open.

So after racking my brain for a couple of days, trying to figure out how the heck to make all of this work, it finally dawned on me. A light bulb went on in my brain, and I realized that I CAN have my bookcases flanking the doorway, and I CAN have my pocket doors! And since the bookcases would be painted white to match all of my trim and wainscoting, I CAN have my black walls and they won’t interfere at all with my black doors!

The solution was so simple! Rather than building the bookcases right up against the wall, I will build them out from the wall about four inches. This gap behind the bookcases will be just enough room for the doors to slide open, simulating the look of pocket doors. Can you picture it?

Contemporary Living Room by Amsterdam Media & Bloggers Iris

Mine won’t look exactly like that, but they’ll be very similar. And when I’m done, all of the door hardware will be covered completely, with the exception of the brackets that are actually attached to the doors. But those are now painted black and are hardly noticeable since they blend right in with the doors.

I’ve been struggling with this room for so long, and I finally feel like I have a concrete plan that I can move forward with.

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  1. Brilliant solution and the bookcases will add so much to the “feeling” of a music room. Can’t wait to see it complete!

  2. Just a thought, but maybe your breakfast room would be a great place to do that “wallpaper” project. It would seem so cheerful next to your kitchen!

    1. I was thinking about your office for inspiration, but the breakfast room would be even better, since others would be able to see it, too!

  3. I love great bookcases- will the piano still go in the room, what other furniture do you have in mind?- 2 reading chairs?…I love black walls, had them in my old houses living room. Would love to have black walls again but my current house doesn’t have the best natural sunlight coming in to support it.

  4. Kristi — I love this idea! Brillant use of space! (and maybe you can put the hand-drawn wallpaper somewhere else in your house? Breakfast room perhaps?)

  5. You need to find a really cool Black wallpaper and line the back of the bookshelves. Now that would be STYLE! Love your blog and always open as soon as it comes!

  6. This is going to look great! I have pocket doors and love them!! The bookcases are going to be beautiful too. Are you planning on having white wainscotting with the upper half black on the other walls? I hope so lol

  7. I love the idea of the bookcase-pocket doors combination. I am also loving the french doors installation in place of the pony walls.

  8. I love it. Additionally, it will decrease the footprint of the music room and create a more intimate space which will likely feel less like a converted dining room. I hope that makes sense.

    I see a fainting couch in this room! A chaise would be so much fun. Every woman should have one, right?

  9. As always, I love all of your ideas! This will look amazing I’m sure. After reading through some comments on the last post, who cares how many times you change your mind! As long as the end result is something you’re proud of–and more importantly something you want to live with in your home–I think you’re all good 🙂

  10. LOVE IT! And thank you for sharing your though process with us. So often when I see people who are so creative and have such great taste and ideas, I think it comes super easy to them all the time. It is nice to see that the answer often takes you some time to reach…and that there are often ideas that come and go in the mean time. I think the bookcases on that wall will be fantastic!!!

  11. I’m glad you found a solution that works for you, but I am a little disappointed that you won’t see those beautiful doors when they are open. Maybe they are not open often anyway so that is not a concern.

  12. YES! Love the solution and how it gives more purpose to the room but still allows functionality for Matt. Can’t wait to see how it turns out 🙂

  13. Would it be possible to mount the sliding doors on the sunroom side of the doorway? Then you could build bookshelves but not have to build them away from the wall?

    1. That’s not really possible right now. That room is such a disaster, and needs so much work, before I start installing things on the walls in there. Right now the walls are lined with the original shiplap exterior siding (painted in lead based paint, I’m sure), with a layer of faux stone panels nailed on top. I’d hate to install anything on top of that mess right now, and I’m not really wanting to tackle anything in that room (i.e., fixing the walls) just yet.

  14. I have the same concern about not seeing the doors when they are open. Right now you want them closed to hide the sun room, but what about when the addition is finished? They are such fabulous doors they deserve to be seen! I cannot argue, however, with a great set of bookshelves. I would line a whole room with shelves and books if I had the space. I also like the suggestion of using the birds design as a piece of art- how about as the backing to your shelves?

    1. We’re still a few years away from being able to do the addition on the back, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 🙂 Right now, the doors stay closed most of the time.

  15. I love it. I was never a fan of that wallpaper in your music room. I thought it was fun and whimsical and better suited to your breakfast room. Your office seems a good choice too. And I’m warming to the yellow piano now. I never cared for it against the wallpaper. But I think it will look great against black walls.

    I like the way the bookcases on one end of the room seem to call out to the french doors on the other end of the room. Very cohesive. I can see a couple of comfy reading chairs and a floor lamp between them.

    Two questions. I’m sure you’ve done all the measurements but is there actually room to fit the bookcase on the right side? In the picture it looks like the door to your kitchen is very close to that wall. Maybe it’s just the angle of the picture. Second question. Can we call this the library now instead of the music room?

    1. There’s just barely enough room on that wall for a bookcase. Once the bookcase is built and framed out, and the door casings are re-installed on the kitchen door, there will be about three inches of wall space between them. And yes, I love the idea of calling this a library! 🙂

  16. Great solution! But tell me the doors will be closed often enough to appreciate them! Now … which black to use! Stark black? Soft black? Gray so dark it is almost black?

    1. The doors stay closed most of the time right now. That might change when we do our big addition on the back of the house, but we’re still a few years away from starting on that, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 🙂

  17. I feel about this like I did the removal of the pony walls…sad to see something I love go (i.e. the pony walls and the wallpaper), but thrilled with the outcome that I think is going to work so much better. Yay!

  18. The photo of the Dutch house with the pocket doors and bookcases either side is identical to a house we lived in for six years in Den Haag. I can tell you that those pocket doors worked exceptionally well and were a beautiful feature of the the two rooms.

  19. I’ve kept my mouth shut but hated that wallpaper for that room. This is such an incredibly better idea. What about the handles on the doors? Will they be able to retreat back into the wall/bookcases also?

  20. Girl I love this idea!!…I to love black, and the bookcases will look so balanced with every thing else! I am so excited about this new plan! and yes it is the winner for sure…A library/music room combo is great!…Can’t wait to see the dining room and music room when your done…Go gettum tiger!

  21. EEEE! The moment you mentioned I KNEW (and HOPED) that you were going to build and use the bookcases as the fronts of the pocket doors! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that idea!

    I cannot wait to see them come to life!

  22. Yup; that’ll work! When I was reading and got to where you said, “Sigh, if only they were pocket doors…”, I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Oooo, oooo, I have an idea!” But then I kept reading and you just took my idea and ran with it! Actually, it was originally my husband’s idea which we used in our new laundry/utility room. It’s on the other side of an exterior wall, and he suggested that we just build another wall for the pocket door, right up against the original wall. Genius, if you ask me. And your idea to add the bookshelves is super genius! You do such pretty finish work, it’ll be perfect.

  23. Remember back when you were going to paint the breakfast room walls black with the gloss/matte stencil? Would you have any interest in doing that in the music room? Seems like it could be a great way to give a little bit of umph to the black walls, and if I remember correctly, it went really well with the door design too.

  24. Glad to see you’ve found a plan you like and are not forcing something on yourself. If you are going with the black walls you could go with black on black stripes or stencil that you had previously contemplated using in other rooms.

  25. I like these ideas much better than the previous plan. Your Mom is a wise lady. I think the solid black or the black and white stripes will look amazing!

  26. I think that’s a fantastic idea! And even if you didn’t want the bookshelves, a false wall would have been an excellent idea as well.

    A couple of functional things to consider (cause you know I’m ‘that guy’)…

    I know you consider them a focal point for the room (and rightly so…they’re awesome). Are you going to be okay with them being hidden a lot of the time? If you’re planning to make the space behind them your main sitting room eventually, I’d imagine you’d have them open/hidden most of the time and maybe shut them at night or when guests are there. Until you do the addition, they’ll probably be closed and visible a lot. Just something to consider.

    Your bird handles are kind of large and set-in an inch or two from the edges. Clearly, they won’t fit inside the pocket. Are you going to be okay with the doors being that much visible when open so that the handles can stick-out? And even if you are, don’t forget to compensate for it when deciding on the size for the opening. I’m sure you will, anyway. You’re good at details like that. 😉

    1. For now the doors stay closed most of the time, so they’ll still be the stars of that room. Even if/when I make a sitting room back in the sunroom, it won’t be pretty (there’s just no way to salvage that room and make it pretty), so the doors will probably still be closed all the time. When we do our big additon, that may change, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 🙂

      When the doors are open, they’ll stick out just enough for the peacock handles to show. I thought about that. I didn’t want to give up my peacock handles! 😀

    1. I’ll probably end up using my two favorite chairs (the ones that I had planned to use flanking the buffet in the entryway) in this room. I’ve come to realize that they’re too big for the entryway, but I think they’ll be perfect for this room.

  27. Love, love, love this idea!!!! As I was reading your deli a I was thinking put the shelves on the wall but your beautiful doors but build them out from the wall. So can’t wait to see how the room will transform with thes built-ins.

  28. This is indeed a winner…I must confess I really did NOT like that wallpaper at all. But this …this is superb!
    Go for it…and we will wait to see how this all comes about. A win win in my book.

  29. So glad you got past your wallpaper fixation…for the music room. I agree with Molly who suggests the wallpaper would better suit your breakfast room.

  30. I love built in bookcases so this is a perfect solution all the way around. I also wanted to comment on your statement about us liking your thought process during the design process…yes we do! When you don’t make a post I visit other diy/design blog spots and I end up bored within minutes because one can only look at so many pictures with very little detail on how to get there. That is what magazines are for. I’m looking forward to the new build with instructions:)

  31. I like the new direction. I was having a hard time visualizing the wallpaper. The piano will reall stand out, and the dark color will (I think) feel cozy. I love the built in bookcase/pocket door idea. I love built ins anyway.

  32. I just love this new plan. I was not particularly fond of the wallpaper as a backdrop to the piano so I’m glad you are going in a different directions. It is your home, after all, and you can do whatever pleases you. But this new direction…..WOW!

  33. And… Voila! A combo library/music room! I love it. Have you considered Charleston Green for your walls? It would be a nice blend with your kitchen green. Perhaps a round tea table with two comfy, upholstered chairs flanking it… Maybe a nice ottoman for putting your feet up after a long day of DIY. Maybe you could incorporate the birds in the chair fabric? Whatever you decide to do, I know it will be fabulous! Keep them letters comin’ Kristi, I love reading you!!!

  34. THANK YOU JESUS! Now you can finally get to work. Please, pleases, please think out your bookcases first. Draw them and pay attention to the details that end up making you nuts. I would hate to see you get so far into it and then have something change your mind. It is a great plan, the room can now be the music/library. Well done! Blessings

  35. I like the new direction too. I’ll bet that wallpaper design will end up somewhere in your house! And black, in a room without windows? Perfect!

  36. First, love your brainstorming. Sometimes we just have to let go of something, if it just isn’t right for your space. I know how i can just get blinders on when I really want something.
    Based on your 10′ barn door hardware – won’t your bookcases be only 2 – 2 1/4′ wide? I guess that would be enough to break up the black- function? Doors being hidden?
    You always seem to look at all options and figure out whats best for you. Keep going girl!!

  37. I like this idea! Maybe your hand drawn wallpaper could be drawn on the backs of your shelves to add a little something extra?

  38. I like it! I think it will solve many problems and be a good addition to the music room.

    As for your hand painted wallpaper, I think you could use it in your office and be inspired by it often.

  39. Love this new idea. I love books and am going to build me several book shelves, but they will be rustic, not finished, like yours will be. Love your thought processes, also!
    Wasn’t big on the wall paper, and really not a black fan!! LOL! but way back when, you were going to do stripes, you were going to do shiny and dull[gloss and flat] in a stripe. That might be a good option here. It would be very classic, and subtle I would think! Just a thought! I know what ever you do will be great! Can’t wait to see it.

  40. Absolutely amazing idea! You have such a creative gift! Don’t know if you’ll have room, but I was thinking about putting built-in reading benches in front of the bookcases would be cozy. Maybe you could upholster them with your hand-drawn wallpaper done on fabric. Love following your blog, and REALLY appreciate knowing your thought process!

  41. The idea for creating pocket doors may be your best idea yet! It is at least in the top ten. I am not a fan of black for the walls but I am sure you will make the best decision for you. Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  42. I love your new plan!! You are going to have an amazing music room/library.
    Have you thought of putting your bird wallpaper idea on a canvas and using it as a painting in this room? I can see it hanging above your piano!

  43. Oooooooh! This is going to be gorgeous! I love watching you work out problems and then come up with a solution that’s better than where you began. I can’t wait to see this!!!

  44. I love this idea! However, I am so sad to see the barn doors go…. I love them too!!! It’s too bad you can’t hang the barn doors on the other side of the opening to get the barn door look from that direction and the pocket door look inside the room.

    In any case I can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Keep moving forward! Annie

  45. Love you brainstorming post! I am glad to see you are saving the bird/branches wallpaper idea for another space. I have wondered whether you are doing too much to the music room space and would end up with too many major design elements for the size of the space. On the other hand, bookcases always work whether a space is large or small. And building them with space to make the sliding doors pocket doors is an awesome idea! Those doors are beautiful and I am glad to see you are keeping them. I also think the sliding pocket door/bookcase idea blends better with the French door lights you installed at the other end of the room.

  46. Love the idea but was wondering if you would ever need to get to the mechanics of the doors to make adjustments and does your plan make considerations in the design for that access.

    1. Well, I didn’t even think about that, and it’s too late now! 😀 I guess my plan now is to pray that nothing goes wrong, and if it does, then Future Kristi will take care of it. 😀

  47. I’m loving the new idea except for one thing: when you open the doors they won’t be visible. I would expect the doors to be open most of the time and they are just too gorgeous to hide.

    Also, have you thought about making a large painting out of the wallpaper pattern? It would really pop against one of the black walls. 🙂

    1. Right now, the doors stay closed most of the time. When we do our big addition on the back, that may change, but that’s a few years away so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 🙂

  48. Hi Kristi, I love everything you do,but this is the best yet!!The one thing that I Hhave hated to see go was your wonderful idea of the black 2sheen walls that you were originally going to use. I think that would be p.erfect in your music room. Please reconsider using it. With your striped draperies ,it would be breathtaking.I think this will be your masterpiece .Please keep posting so we can see the process

  49. This is a great idea. I think that gives you storage, lets the doors continue to be a focal point and keeps the center free for Matt. Glad you wrote all this out because I like hearing how your brain works.

  50. What a fantastic idea. ( You have so many light bulb ideas, you must be crackling with electricity everywhere you go). Haha. Can’t wait to see it finished, it’s going to be amazing, as are you.

  51. First, congratulations on your decision to forego the wallpaper design! I must say I know how it is to fall in love with something, but editing is so important. Right now I’m in a similar dilemma. I’ve fallen in love with a Suzani print with dimensional embroidery. But where to use it? Certainly not where I’d really like to have it! So it won’t go there.

    Second, I guess I’m going to be one of the few dissenters on your bookcases. The doors standing alone on that wall made a dramatic statement. I think that impact will be greatly diminished when they’re flanked by bookcases. The doors still would have been dramatic when opened, but now that possibility will be lost. I love well-placed and beautifully accessorized bookcases, and those in the photo look lovely. But I just don’t think you’re going to achieve the effect you hope for..either for the bookcases or your beautiful doors. Of course, it’s yourself you must please.

    You have three different areas, but they’re all visible at once, so it makes sense that you’re treating them as one space colorwise without any jarring juxtapositions. I’m so looking forward to the colorful, happy finale!

  52. Ooooohhhh! Neat idea! Glossy black stencil on matte black paint, maybe? And do NOT paint the piano a different color, no matter what some of the other comments say!

  53. Okay, I have a wacky idea… What if you used the painted couch technique to paint your tree/bird pattern onto some fabric and used the fabric as upholstery on some arm chairs, upholstery on a piano bench top, or even just a couple of throw pillows?

    I dunno about you, but I like to have my cake and eat it too sometimes.

  54. I love the black above the white wainscoting. I’m going to do the same with mine in the bedroom. I was going to suggest that with the white bookcases, the black walls will be fine, but you beat me to it!
    I don’t know what stencil you are referring to (I got to the party a little late!) but could you put it on the inside-back of the bookcases?? I hope you plan on doing something with the back of those. I love it when I see bookcases with peeks of color from behind the books. Or if you are staying classical, what about some antiqued mirrors?? the mercury glass looking ones? Love that with the black and white. Very classy.
    You rock!

    1. Kathy, I actually made those doors. I’m on my phone right now, but if I remember later I will post a link for you to that project. If I forget, you can find that project under “view My Projects” on the top menu.